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Foundation for Nationalist Studies, Inc.

By the same author:

The United Nations, Graphic House, 1950
Recto Reader, (ed.) Recto Foundation, 1964
The Filipinos in the Philippines, Philippine Signatures, 1967
The Making of a Filipino, Malaya Books, 1969
Dissent and Counter-Consciousness, Malaya Books, 1970
The Philippine Insurrection Against the United States by J.R.M.
    Taylor (5 vols.) (ed.), Eugenio Lopez Foundation, 1971
The Marcos Watch, (Luis R. Mauricio, ed.) Malaya Books, 1972
Identity and Consciousness: The Philippine Experience, Malaya
    Books, 1974
The Philippines: A Past Revisited, with Letizia Constantino, Tala
    Publishing Corporation, 1975, reprinted as The History of the
    Philippines: From the Spanish Colonization to the Second World
    War, Monthly Review, New York
Global Corporations and the Transfer of Technology, Erehwon, 1976
Insight and Foresight, Foundation for Nationalist Studies, 1977
Westernizing Factors in the Philippines, Erehwon, 1977
The Philippines: The Continuing Past (co-author Letizia R.
    Constantino), Foundation For Nationalist Studies, 1978
Neocolonial Identity and Counter-Consciousness: Essays on Cultural
    Decolonisation, Merlin Press, London, 1978 and M.E. Sharpe,
    New York, 1979
The Second Invasion: Japan in the Philippines, 1979
Soliongco Today (ed.) Foundation for Nationalist Studies, 1981
The World Bank's Trojan Horses - KKK and Recolonization, Karrel,
    Inc. 1982
The Miseducation of the Filipino (with World Bank Textbooks:
    Scenario for Deception by Letizia R. Constantino), Foundation for
    Nationalist Studies, 1983
Sovereignty, Democracy and Survival, Karrel, Inc. 1983
For Philippine Survival: Nationalist Essays by Claro M. Recto and
    Renato Constantino, Berkeley, Cal., 1983
The State of the Philippine Press, (ed.) Foundation for Nationalist
    Studies, 1984
The Post-Marcos Era: An Appraisal, Karrel, Inc., 1984
The Relevant Recto, Karrel, Inc., 1985
Parents and Activists, Karrel, Inc., 1985
Claro M. Recto, Memorable Speeches and Writings, (ed.) Foundation
    for Nationalist Studies (forthcoming)

                                  ISBN 971-1058-03-0
                                  Copyright 1985
                                  Foundation for Nationalist Studies
                                  38 Panay Avenue, Quezon City
                                  Second Printing, September 1987

Table of Contents

 The Cultural Component 2 Linking Culture and Economics 3
 TNCs as Cultural Agents 4 Changing Values 6 Skewed Priorities 7
 Medicated Society 8 Advertising and Cultural Commodities 9
 Informational Monopoly 10


 Culture as Social Communication 15 Ideological Apparatus 16
 The Rise of Media 17 Communications and Technology 18
 Concentration and Conglomerization 19 Hegemony of Amenican
 TNCs 20 TNCs and the National Security State 21 Widening
 the Gap 22 Origin of "Free Flow" 23


 Communications Monopolies 28 Role of Print Media 29
 The Economics of Domination 30 Hollywood, Inc. 31


 Reordering Reality 34 The Impact of TV 35 Standardization of
 Culture 36 Colonizing Life Experiences 37 Means of Social
 Control 37 Ideological Dependence 39 Homogenization and
 Sedation 40 Standardization of Consumption and Culture 41
 Thought Transference 42


 The Philippine Experience 46 Native "Transmission Belts" 47
 Strangers to the People 48 Seepage from Above 49


 Synthetic Culture vs. People's Culture 52 One-way Information
 Flow 52 Third World Reactions 52 Two-Fold Problem 53
 Alternative Possibilities 54 Communications and Development 55
 The options at Hand 56 Some Guidelines 57 Communications
 and Liberation 59


 Characteristics of People's Culture 62 The Need for
 Re-education 63 Nationalism and Internationalism 64


1 The Conditioning

In the age of neocolonialism the techniques subjugation
and control are no longer primarily military in nature.
While decolonization resulted in flag independence for
former colonies, it denied these emergent countries
economic independence, further integrating them into
the world capitalist system. Assigned their roles in the
new international division of labor, these new
independent states find their resources still subject to
exploitation by the club of advanced capitalist
countries led by the United States.

A prominent feature of the neocolonial stage of capitalism is the
predominance of transnational corporations which produce and
distribute a great portion of all the goods of the capitalist system and
have at their command a global financial network that controls a huge
amount of capital flow. Their overseas subsidiaries earn huge profits
through their use of the natural resources, raw materials and cheap
manpower of Third World countries. In addition to the TNCs,
transnational banks also extract wealth from Third World countries
through the mechanism of debt service. Despite competition and
contradictions among themselves in their day-to-day operations, giant
corporations and transnational banks have a common stake in keeping
these countries securely within the global capitalist system. Culture is
a potent tool for realizing this objective.

The Cultural Component

Some scholars have deplored the fact that questions of trade and
finance and of the debt problems that arose from the latest crisis in the
capitalist world have overshadowed the cultural component. On the
surface, it is quite true that cultural factors have not merited the same
attention from scholars as the economic issues that beset the Third
World. However, no thorough-going economic analysis can avoid
considering the cultural component, for culture is a pervasive if subtle
force that is a determinant in the acceptance or rejection by Third
World countries of the various economic development policies foisted
on them by advanced capitalist states. In turn, these economic policies
have profound cultural effects on society.

The cultural conditioning process has become an integral component
of economic and political domination. Cultural instruments utilized
prior to and during the neocolonial period were effecting mass cultural
colonization of emergent nations. This cultural matrix has become
both the arena in which foreign inspired economic policies are debated
and the venue for making such policies acceptable. All too often the
parameters of such debates and the concepts accepted as givens are in
fact those already set by global economic institutions, thanks to
cultural conditioning.

In assessing the problems of development, it is therefore essential not
to lose sight of the relationship between economic and cultural factors.
The role that the cultural component plays in the growing economic
transnationalization of the world cannot be minimized nor can we
ignore the implications of the trend towards a "world culture" which
on one hand desensitizes the citizens of the advanced countries to the
effects of their governments' economic policies in the Third World
and, on the other, threatens with extinction or at least modifies
indigenous national cultures in Third World countries to suit
neocolonial purposes.

Powerful economic forces and institutions in the advanced states
understand the economics of culture and use it for their own ends
while presenting culture to those they wish to dominate simply as
entertainment or aesthetics divorced from the material concerns of
daily life. Third World peoples (and those who work in their behalf)
have to restore in their consciousness the link between economics and
culture to understand how culture is being used to deepen their
economic domination.

Linking Culture and Economics

Cultural values in any society reinforce the prevailing socio-economic
base. Although they are products of definite stages of development,
these values are also essentially those of the hegemonic class or
classes of a particular society and as such do not necessarily reflect the
objective needs and interests of the people. Moreover, in many parts of
the Third World, cultural values are external impositions by ruling
powers over dominated nations in order to insure the continued rule of
the former and the docility of the latter. Values which once
corresponded to a certain stage of pre-colonial society are either
destroyed or, if useful in forwarding the objectives of the colonizer,
are allowed to blend with the new values. Thus, what the dominated
people regard as their traditional values at present may be something
rooted in the past which has undergone modifications to suit colonial
ends and thereby preserve the system of national oppression. This
deformed culture of the colonized is represented as the national culture

and with the passage of time comes to be regarded as native by a
colonially transformed people.

In the course of centuries of colonialism and with the intensification of
neocolonial propaganda, cultural values promoted by neocolonialism
have become a material force forming part of the apparatus of
dominance. The native elite have imbibed these values almost
completely; they themselves have become agents of Westernization
and defenders of the status quo. Cultural values that assure the
existence of good colonials have been carried over to the neocolonial
phase because of the deep-seated nature of colonial influence. Thus,
new nations are susceptible to Western models of development and
methodology which serve as fetters to their real liberation and social
progress. Consciousness remains imprisoned within the mold created
by the colonial past and the neocolonial present.

The relationship between cultural values and economic development
is a dynamic one; it shifts depending on the prevailing balance of
forces. During the period when neocolonialism reigns supreme and the
anti-imperialist forces are barely making themselves felt, cultural
values reinforce the kind of economic, development favored by the
advanced capitalist powers. However, with time, imperialist
exploitation generates its own opposite, triggering mass discontent
and a search for an alternative path of economic development. As this
process accelerates and as the anti-imperialist forces gain strength,
cultural values in support of an alternative system will gain headway,
transforming the sphere of culture and playing a vital role in changing
the socio-economic base. Only when this transpires will real
development - one which meets the real needs of the people and not
the narrow corporate interests of the global corporations - finally take

TNCs as Cultural Agents

As earlier underscored, the transnational corporation, that most
economic of entities, has in the last three decades become a potent
agent for cultural change. The presence of TNCs in the manufacturing

sectors of developing countries facilitates the transmission of their
"business culture," their management concepts and operational
techniques to their Third World joint venture partners and to local
entrepreneurs in general. The consumption patterns and general
lifestyle of their managers become models to be approximated by local
executives while suppliers and subcontractors must adjust their
production concepts and styles to TNC priorities and standards.

Agribusiness transnationals for instance, have changed the lives of,
whole communities. In the Philippines, the operations of Dole,
Philippines and Del Monte have caused massive shifts from small--
scale rice farming to contract-growing of pineapples and bananas. In
many cases, the independent, almost self-sufficient small farmer was
transformed into a contract-grower who eventually became saddled
with debts as a result of onerous contracts he could hardly read. Many
have ended up as landless laborers in the TNC plantations or as
migrants who have swelled the squatter communities of the cities.1

TNC requirements for international trade have changed not only the
crops Third World farmers raise but their lives as well. Cash crops for
export are rapidly replacing crops for domestic consumption. In the
Philippines, both cultural conditioning in terms of the propagation of
the value of modernization and the granting of economic incentives
insured the acceptance of the Green Revolution, particularly the high
yielding varieties (HYVs) of rice developed by the International Rice
Research Institute (IRRI) funded by the Rockefeller and Ford

The large amounts of imported fertilizers and pesticides required by
these new rice varieties have, not only enriched TNCs manufacturing
these items, they have also thrust large rural sectors into the
money-economy, disrupting traditional relationships of mutual help
among subsistence farmers, introducing them to new consumption
goods (household appliances, TV sets, canned goods, etc. also
produced by TNCs) and eventually, as the prices of agricultural inputs
were raised beyond what could be offset by

increased yields, reducing many farmers to a new level of penury to
the point that many have abandoned their lands and joined the urban
ranks of the unemployed. Those who remain must contend with a
production pattern they have accepted as part of the modernizing
thrust and which they can no longer change even if they wanted to.

The indigenous seeds are no longer available and energy consuming
equipment has taken the place of farm animals. Besides, in irrigated
areas, the release of water is timed to the growth cycle of the HYVs,
not to the slower one of the old seeds. The poor farmers can no longer
live off the land as they used to; fish, shrimps, crustaceans have been
poisoned by the chemical inputs that the HYVs require.

Changing Values

The products of trans-nationals are not inert items on a shelf; they
change consumption patterns, priorities and values. They are bearers
of the values and lifestyles of an affluent industrial society and carry
with them some of the skewed priorities and consumption aberrations
which, deplorable in that society, are almost criminal in a poor
undeveloped country particularly, when they seep down to the poor. A
few examples should suffice. According to R. Barnet and R. Mueller,
the sales campaigns of TNCs have resulted in "increasing
consumption of white bread, confections, and soft drinks among the
poorest people in the world by convincing them that status,
convenience, and sweet taste are more important than nutrition."3 One
may add that among the uninformed, these new foods may even appear
more nutritious, given the tendency (common among the colonized) to
regard foreign goods as superior. In rural, Philippines it is sad to see
mothers selling fresh coconuts and giving part of the proceeds to their
children to buy a bottle of coke.

The dreadful results of Nestle's massive promotion of tinned milk for '
babies in Asia and Africa provoked a well-organized 7-year boycott of
that corporation's products by consumer

organizations.4 Despite the number of infant deaths and illnesses
associated with bottle-feeding under unhygienic conditions, and
despite earnest counter-propaganda for breast-feeding by health
workers and other concerned groups, bottle-feeding is still a status
symbol in the rural areas of the Philippines.

A ludicrous effect of TNC sales drives on dietary values among rural
Filipinos is their attitude toward canned goods. In many a rural
household, canned sardines, mackerel and vienna sausage are
considered the best that may be served to visitors. After being emptied,
the cans are displayed on kitchen shelves.

Skewed Priorities

In Third World countries where poverty is virtually endemic, the
distortion of consumption priorities as a result of TNC advertising and
sales campaigns obviously has more serious consequences than in
affluent societies. In the Philippines, for example, where recent
estimates place fully 70% of families below the poverty line, money
sorely needed for food, shelter, and basic health care is often
squandered on tobacco, cosmetics, soft drinks and the latest fashion
jeans. Although the targets of the TNC sales pitch are the elite and
middle classes, their advertising is "democratically" heard via
transistor radio,' seen on billboards and 'to a lesser extent on television.
A recent interview of Filipino rural women revealed that imported
goods (significantly lumped together under the term "stateside," short
for United States) are status symbols and local goods of "export
quality" also have prestige value. Moreover, rural young women have
become fashion conscious and buy jeans and cosmetics on installment

One may likewise mention the aggressive drive of tobacco trans-
-nationals to open new markets in Africa and Asia among women and
youth at a time when dissemination in the first world of data on the
deleterious effects of tobacco has caused their domestic markets to
decline by 2% a year in most Western countries over the past decade.
US cigaret exports nearly tripled in the last 10 years. According to the
World Health Organization, tobacco use in

the Third World has been going up by 5% annually. Thailand had a
50% increase in smokers between 1970 and 1977; India, 90% increase
in 20 years; Pakistan, 60% increase in 10 years.6

Medicated Society

Drug TNCs are still another economic group whose products have had
far-reaching cultural consequences. In the Philippines, their control of
the market has prevented the development of a national drug industry.
This is not simply a question of profits going to foreign companies
rather than to local entrepreneurs. It has resulted in a climate of
overmedication for those who can afford a pill for every ailment. It has
downgraded traditional folk -drugs even in the eyes of those who
cannot afford foreign medicines such that a poor father will do without
food in order to buy a cough medicine or an antidiarrheal pill because
he no longer trusts certain traditional decoctions from local plants, or
knowledge of them has already disappeared from his cultural milieu,
especially if he is an urban resident.

Given the preference of Western pharmaceutical giants for imported
raw materials, research on local resources has been stunted. Although
there have been some successful government sponsored researches to
systematize dosages of traditional medicines and produce them as
pills, the massive advertising of foreign drugs and the general cultural
climate of confidence in and preference for foreign products has
reduced the effectivity of such programs. On the other hand, drug
multinationals themselves have evinced interest in herbal medicines
which goes to show that traditional medicine is not really perceived as
a threat by the TNCs, and/or it may be successfully neutralized as well
as converted into a new source of profits.

Moreover, the Western-oriented medical education in the country
insures not only less interest in research on indigenous drug sources
but even lack of expertise in dealing with diseases typical of a tropical
Third World country. The emphasis is on the latest

medical technology and curative procedure from Western medical
centers rather than on the health problems characteristic of developing
nations. The concentration on medication rather than on disease
prevention, on individual rather than community health, obscures the
societal source of many diseases. As a result of this orientation of the
medical profession and the general population, too, there is less
pressure for policies intended to remove structures that breed poverty,
the main cause of malnutrition and the basic cause of many diseases.7

Advertising and Cultural Commodities

The cultural effects of material goods such as those produced by TNCs
are deepened and disseminated to every nook of the world by the
communications industry. Advertising has become an indispensable
part of TNC operations.

John Kenneth Galbraith offers a perceptive appraisal of the
relationship between advertising and consumption in the following

        Advertising and salesmanship - the management of consumer
        demand - are vital for planning the industrial system. At the same
        time, the wants so created ensure the services of the worker. Ideally,
        his wants are kept slightly in excess of his income. Compelling
        inducements are then provided for him to go into debt. The pressure
        of the resulting debt adds to his reliability, as a worker. 8

The importance of advertising as a stimulator of consumption has
caused TNCs to spend billions of dollars on it, a fact which inevitably
resulted in their control over the communications industry. Media can
no longer exist without advertising; policies and decisions affecting
media are therefore largely in the hands of advertisers. Indeed, several
industrial giants have found it useful and economical to invest in the
communications industry as well.

Informational Monopoly

Thus, the increasing concentration of capital which characterizes all
free-enterprise systems has resulted in the centralization of the
production and distribution of informational and cultural
commodities. This characteristic has become more and more apparent
and decisive in the more advanced states. In the United States, for ex-
ample, the trend ' is toward "increasing emphasis on the production,
storage, and distribution of information as its major activity."9 Over 45
percent of the gross national product of the United States is tied to
information production and distribution, while nearly half of the labor
force is engaged in these activities. What is called the "primary
information sector" is according to the US Information Agency
"dominated by a relatively small group of large corporations that are
the builders and operators of the basic information and
communications infrastructure. Their size and influence are awesome.
The industry is dominated by giants -IBM, International Telephone
and Telegraph, RCA, General Electric, CBS, and so on."10

Who benefit from the information technologies that are aggressively
being marketed worldwide? One author cites three major
beneficiaries: "first, the foreign suppliers of the equipment and second,
the financiers, because most of the governments ran quite quickly into
tremendous balance of payment problems. So they had to borrow on
the international market, and most of the money" comes from private
commercial banks. The third major beneficiary was the local
administrative elite - people who were close to the national
administration, very often military people."11

Their power will multiply at the same fantastic rate that the
technologies they control develop. "In 5,000 years human knowledge
has doubled once; at the present time, in fact, the bulk of information is
being doubled: every fifth year in electronics; every third year in
space-research and nuclear energy."12

The means of communication, aside from being owned by

monopolists, are also dependent on advertising income from other
monopolies. Thus, through the control of the communications
channels - the press, radio and TV - advertisers shape consciousness
and are able to create new lifestyles and new needs that not only sell
their products but also affect cultural norms, develop values, and
inculcate ideas that support the system. At this point, it is necessary to
explain the theoretical and historical underpinning of the processes by
which this takes place.

2 Culture And

In the words of Amilcar Cabral, "Culture is the
dynamic synthesis, at the level of individual or
community consciousness, of the material and spiritual
historical reality of a society or a human group, with
the relations existing between man and nature as well
as among men, and among social classes and sectors."13

Human beings must satisfy certain fundamental needs in order to
survive. In satisfying these needs, people develop not only a material
culture which includes technology and the overall system of producing
and distributing goods, but also patterns of behavior and thought,
concepts, standards, and values which are handed down from
generation to generation and which taken together comprise the
bedrock of culture. Each succeeding generation, however, modifies its
cultural legacy in accordance with its concrete historical
circumstances. In a narrower sense then, culture may be defined as the
organization of shared experience which includes values and standards
for perceiving, judging and acting within a specific social milieu at a
definite historical stage. 14

Patterns of behavior and thought, concepts, standards and values
encompass the economic, political, social and aesthetic areas of
human life and society. The last category - the aesthetic - is what is
commonly referred to as culture. In its popular sense, culture is the
distillation of human experience through various techniques involving
manipulation of the senses to produce art, music, dance, and literature.

Both culture, as patterns of behavior and thought, concepts, standards
and values, and culture as aesthetics are shaped by material life. In
turn, culture by shaping human consciousness and defining the
self-view of a people and their view of the world also influences the
development of material conditions. Let us subsume the two
categories - culture as behavior and thought patterns, etc. and culture
as aesthetics - under the term spiritual culture.

It is in this sense that culture is discussed in this work; culture as
developed, refined, and transmitted in the realm of consciousness
especially that type of culture disseminated through what is now called
the Communications Industry. Such a focus, however, will not
dissociate spiritual culture from its material moorings, for there are
many developments in the material field, e.g. technology, the
organization of the labor force, etc. which define, limit and modify
cultural forms. In turn, there are also cultural activities

which have stimulated the production of material objects that become
part of the cultural sphere. This is well illustrated in the development
of musical instruments, the construction of theatres, the invention of
the phonograph and the movie camera, and -the rise of the electronics
industry. Today, radio and TV are major material conveyors of
cultural products.

Culture as Social Communication

Culture is not only the product of a distillation of social experience, it
is in essence also social communication. Art must be seen, literature
read, music heard before any of these aesthetic products can become
part of culture. The means of communication is therefore vital. At the
same time, communication is crucial to society's development because
it articulates social relations among people.

How people communicate, where and when they communicate, with
whom they communicate and even to a certain degree, what and why
they communicate, i.e. their mode of communication, is a function of
the historical process.15

Communication, the conveying of information and ideas, is both a
product and a cause of social development and has itself its own
development according to the specific historical period of particular
societies, because it involves the movement not only of people but also
of commodities and of capital.16

At an early stage of social development, communication was a bond
among equals but as society developed and stratified, the means of
communication became privately owned and controlled and were used
by its owners as a medium for reproducing -the types of society
favored by ruling groups. As such, communication was transformed
into a channel of domination. This is particularly so during the
contemporary period when nearly all means of communication are in
the hands of monopolies tied up with other monopolies engaged in the
circulation of commodities and capital on a global basis.

Ideological Apparatus

From its initial function of facilitating social interaction in relatively
simple ways, communication has developed a massive, complex
technological base. Media have become industries and have been
transformed into producers of "cultural commodities." They are
integrated into vast business structures and therefore are part of the
economic base of society. At the same time, media are institutions
functioning within the sphere of consciousness and reinforcing the
existing socio-economic system through a network of ideas, images,
and standards. It may therefore be said that the production of concepts
and values is not autonomous, but rather, intimately linked with
material activity.

Thus, when we talk about communications, information, and mass
media, we must necessarily deal with a prevailing ideological
apparatus and the set of social relations it seeks to reproduce and
preserve. Its overriding objective is to present the prevailing socio-
economic system as given and irreplaceable. In the Third World today,
cultural domination cannot be separated from informational
imperialism. Both are disseminated in the global communications
system controlled by advanced capitalist states. Thus informational
imperialism is a twin sister of cultural imperialism and both are
interlinked with economic dominance. Both have general purposes
which are political and economic in nature. The first is to isolate
socialist countries by means of pejorative reporting and the second is
to help private enterprise especially TNCs in the propagation of
capitalist ideas and the popularization of consumption patterns that
clearly benefit these corporations.

Dominant classes in control of communications and information can
be expected to limit dissemination, with occasional exceptions, only to
such ideas, values, and viewpoints as will help them maintain their
ruling status. Given this reality, it is necessary to expose not only the
concentration of private ownership of the means of production of
material goods but even more so, the monopolization of the means of
production of informational and popular cultural commodities. This is
all the more urgent in Third

World countries like the Philippines where the abstract ideal of press
freedom hag long obscured the partisan nature of information,
particularly foreign information fed to our press.

Similarly, cultural products have been generally viewed as politically
neutral, and insufficient efforts have been exerted to examine their
over-all political content and/or effect. Under a system of private
ownership, freedom to transmit and to receive information and culture
naturally works in favor of the owners of the means of production and
is necessarily loaded against those who are dispossessed. Current
investigation as well as historical hindsight attest to the foregoing

The Rise of Media

Let us advert briefly to the historical development Western media. In
Western Europe, freedom of the press was a battle cry of the struggling
entrepreneurial class against the censorship imposed by the ruling
feudal aristocracy. The first periodicals made their appearance at the
end of the 16th and the beginning of the 17th centuries. They
experienced rapid development in conjunction with the industrial
revolution which witnessed major advances in printing technology and
made possible the creation of a literate mass audience. The press, then
as now, served primarily as an advertising agency and provided
information about certain products and business operations. It soon
took on a political coloring and became the voice of the rising class of
manufacturers in the latter's struggle to throw off the feudal yoke and
install itself in power.17

As society became more and more industrialized, and as a literate
work force essential in manning increasingly sophisticated industries
became more and more numerous, conditions became ripe for the
mass production of newspapers and magazines to an unprecedented
scale. This gave rise to a new kind of work, that of the professional
communicator. During this stage of rising capitalism, freedom of the
press meant giving readers a selection of views. While press freedom
was in fact the freedom of the owners of media who

generally were also property owners, the necessity of selling to a wide
range of customers with varying interests restrained the owners from
using their papers openly to propagate their ruling class views.
Moreover, it was good business to allow to some extent the airing of
contrary opinions as this built confidence among readers in the
impartiality of the newspaper. Competition required that each
newspaper build up its readership and the best way was to gain a
reputation for fairness and truth.

Nonetheless, the general thrust of all newspapers was to induce
readers to accept the economic and political frames of reference not
only of the owners but also, and perhaps more importantly, of the
advertisers on whom newspapers increasingly grew to depend for their
profits. This meant overall support for the status quo, even if here and
there, minor papers not dependent on TNC advertising were allowed
to publish fundamental critiques of imperialism, and even 6f
capitalism itself. It must be emphasized, however, that the essential
homogeneity of the ideological framework of most newspapers is not
necessarily deliberate nor the result of a conspiracy among media
owners. Rather, it is, the natural consequence of the system of private
ownership itself.

Communications and Technology

Information and communication on a global scale today likewise
proceed from the character of the social formation from which they
emerged. These ideological "commodities" are inevitably defined by
the material infrastructure that produces them. These material means
include the printing presses, radio, television, videotape recorders,
film equipment, computers, satellites, and a host of other technological
marvels. And all these means are built on even more basic,
far-reaching and interlocking foundations. Radio and television cannot
operate without the electronics industry; publishing is not possible
without electricity and paper manufacturing; films and records depend
on the chemical and allied industries and all these are in the hands of

A fairly recent revolutionary development in the field of micro-
electronics gave birth to the mind-bending powers of

"compunications" hitherto thought possible only in science fiction
movies. Computers of all shapes, sizes, and uses have invaded almost
all fields of human endeavor in the industrialized societies. The
"information age" has arrived and its sophisticated products have
become vital to global business activity in widening the competitive
advantage of transnational corporations over smaller companies,
particularly those in Third World countries. Such computers have
likewise given an immense ideological clout to the global
communications monopolies. Big irresistibly becomes bigger.

Concentration and Conglornerization

There are many examples of this inexorable process of monop-
olization, many through conglomerization. In the field of publishing, a
multifaceted multinational, Gulf and Western, took over the
publication firm of Schuster and Simon in 1976. Note that Gulf and
Western also controls Paramount Pictures. Bantam Books was taken
over in the same year by Fiat, the Italian automotive transnational.

In broadcasting, Westinghouse, Radio Corporation of America and
General Electric (GE) graduated from producing and developing TV
and radio equipment to establishing and managing TV stations and
studios. American Telephone and Telegraph (ATT) not only
manufactures telephone equipment but also controls the
administration of telephone and telegraph offices. It has cornered 80
percent of telephone services in the United States.18

A merger in the works is that between two giants: Capital Cities
Communications and American Broadcasting Corporation. Capital
Cities owns 7 commercial TV stations, 12 radio stations and 54 cable
stations. It also owns 10 daily newspapers and more than 70 other
papers and periodicals. ABC is not just television, it is also involved in
publishing, cable, and software for advanced communications
systems.19 An editorial of The Nation of March 30, 1985 explains the
significance of this merger:

        The point of the merger is not necessarily to force competitors out of
        business but to control the terms by which limited competition is
        conducted, to pre-empt new fields of endeavor, to command
        material resources, manpower and money on a global scale, and to
        manipulate mass culture so that the audience will respond to the
        needs of the corporate network rather than the other way around.
        (Emphasis supplied) 20

Hegemony of American TNCs

Although other major capitalist states have their giant TNCs too, the
undisputed overall leaders are those of the United States. The film
industry is an example of international monopoly, controlled by the
United States. During the period before the second world war, the film
industry was already dominated by eight major companies which held
a monopoly of patents of film and sound. These companies tied up
with distribution channels including ownership of theatres and radio
stations. All these interconnected companies had financial backing
from major banking and investment groups. For example, Paramount
Pictures controlled Columbia Broadcasting and was in turn tied up
with the Morgan group. Warner Brothers was tied up indirectly with
Rockefeller interests. RKO's (Radio-Keith Orpheum) stocks were
predominantly owned by Radio City, the Rockefeller real estate

Today, as members of the Motion Picture Export Association,
American film companies are among the biggest multinational
conglomerates heavily dependent on foreign sales. Jack Valenti,
president of the Motion Picture Association of America, once made
this interesting revelation: "To my knowledge," he said, "the motion
picture is the only US enterprise that negotiates on its own with
foreign governments." That is why the industry is sometimes called
the "little state departmenC'22

On the other hand, American film interests do not always advertise
their nationality. In branching out to other lands, Hollywood
companies have assumed the nationality of their host

countries. Many so-called European films are actually made by
American subsidiaries. 23

The economic preeminence of American transnationals supported by
and in turn supportive of the US government assures that
informational and cultural dissemination serves US political and
strategic interests. This is confirmed by a 1984 statement of
the -Foreign Affairs Committee of the US House of Representatives:

        Certain foreign policy -objectives can be pursued by dealing directly
        with the people of foreign countries, rather than governments.
        Through the use of modem instruments and techniques of
        communications it is possible today to reach large or influential
        segments of national populations - to inform them, to influence their
        attitudes and at times perhaps even motivate them to a particular
        course. These groups, 'in turn, are capable of exerting noticeable,
        even decisive, pressures on their governments. 24

TNCs and the National Security State

The tie-up between American strategic interests, the US defense
industry and global distribution of information and cultural products
is, awesomely delineated by the following data:

        Huge enterprises indentified with military production and micro-
        electronics have already absorbed cultural industries and are said to
        own, at world level, 90 per cent of the facts and figures accumulated
        in 82 per cent of microelectronic components, 75 per cent and
        perhaps more of TV programs, 65 per cent of news dissemination,
        50 per cent of films, 35 per cent of short wave radio broadcasts, 30
        per cent of book editing, and more than 800 satellites circling the
        earth, most of them of a secret nature and purpose. 25

Communications giants have strong links with the military under
whose auspices the various satellite communications programs were
initiated and perfected. "The most important contracts for the satellite
industry come from government sources, especially the military
branches, who for a long time have had a keen understanding of the
possibilities of this technology for their operations."

Among these contractors are Lockheed, Rockwell, ITT, RCA and
others which "control COMSAT, the US satellite consortium that in
turn controls the international satellite consortium INTELSAT.26 This
tie-up between big business and the military has given rise in the US to
the concept of the national security state under which practically every
area of the world where TNCs have investments or where they see
possibilities of investment is deemed vital to the national security of
the United States. While maintaining verbal allegiance to democratic
processes, the military-industrial complex has an affinity toward
authoritarian regimes in the Third World with whom it can deal with
greater ease than with cumbersome parliaments.27

Satellite communications as part of the military surveillance system
are greatly responsible for the weak negotiating position of Third
World countries' because these satellites are able to monitor the
resources of a country better than the local experts. Moreover, the
perfection of computerization which has become a monopoly of the
West leaves the Third World countries defenseless because the
information flow is one-sided and access to data is safeguarded
especially if they are to be utilized for negotiations.

Widening the Gap

The means at the disposal of the global monopolies and the imperial
states which protect and advance their interests are awesome. The
modes of transporation and communication which facilitated colonial
expansion in the early days of imperialism cannot compare with the
present-day technological wonders which now make possible the
super-efficient extraction of surplus from former colonies whose
economies continue to be ravaged by transnational corporations.

As a result, the gap between the imperial powers and the less
developed states has become wider. Nowhere is this more apparent
than in the decisive field of communications infrastructure. As one
expert reveals:

        The developed countries (North America, Europe, and Japan) have
        789 million radio receivers out of a world total of 953 million
        (82.7%). The U.S. alone has 454 million receivers (47.6%).

        Seven developed countries consume 17.7 million tons out of a world
        total of 23.6 million tons of newsprint (75%). The U.S. alone
        consumes 9.7 million tons (41.3%) which is more than four times
        that of the second largest consumer, Japan (2.3 million).

        Seven developed countries have 284 million copies out of a world
        total of 400 million in newspaper circulation (71%).

        The developed countries have 368 million telephones out of a world
        total of 397 million telephones (92.7%). The U.S. alone has 168
        million (42.2%).

        The U.S. alone earns $47 billion out of the world market of $96.8
        billion in advertising (49%). Thirteen of the top fifteen world
        advertising agencies are American.

        The developed countries earn $77.9 billion out of the total world
        sales revenue of $83 billion (9501o). The U.S. alone earns $37
        billion (45.5%).28

These staggering disparities accentuate two important facts: first, that
the U.S. leads other developed countries in the fields of higher
technology of information and of the media infrastructure and second,
that the developed countries in general have overwhelming control
over global information.

Origin of "Free Flow"

The overwhelming cultural and ideological penetration of the Third
World by Western media is justified, especially by the United States,
through the invocation of the principle of "free flow of information." It
may be useful to look back to the historical origin of this principle in
order to uncover the real interests of those who have used it as a
political weapon.

It is well known that before the war, Britain and France had major
control of the cable services. The US-based Associated Press was
trying to compete with them and wanted to make inroads into the
territories controlled by the British and French empires. After the war,
US business soon realized that the control of information was
important to global expansion. The European countries were then
economically prostrate; moreover, the propaganda against
Communism was effective in weakening their defenses against
American demands. Presented with a choice between the US and the
USSR during the unfolding of, the cold war and dependent on the
former for aid, the Europeans aligned themselves with the United
States. Thus, the free flow principle got the support of the Europeans
and the mechanical majority in the United Nations in 1948. With its
military-propelled lead in the development of electronics and satellite
communication, the US was soon able to dominate the field. Thus,
"free flow of information" in practice came to mean the propagation of
the American way of life, the dissemination of the US world view, and
the defense of US interests, to the consternation of the former holders
of the communications monopoly. 29

The economic motivation for invoking the principle was well
articulated by Assistant Secretary of State Benton in 1946. He said:

        The State Department plans to do everything within its power along
        political and diplomatic lines to help break down the artificial
        barriers' to the expansion of private American news agencies,
        magazines, motion pictures and other communications media
        throughout the world. Freedom of the press and freedom of
        exchange of information is an integral part of our foreign policy. 30

"Free flow" has been transformed into its opposite. The flow is now
practically unidirectional as Third World countries become mere
recipients of information from advanced countries, especially the
United States. The imbalance is not only quantitative; it is also

The United States has succeeded in bringing about an apparently
unchallenged position of leadership for itself in global media and
communications, especially in the high-tech areas. The US-based
transnational news agencies, UPI and AP, receive, process and deliver
40 million words a day. AP's subscribers alone include 100,000
foreign newspapers and broadcasting services in over 100 countries.
As one observer commented, "Over a billion people a day make their
value judgments on international developments on the basis of AP

Together with Reuters and Agence France Presse, AP an UPI handle
about 95 percent of the information gathered in, and received by, Third
World Nations.31

3 The Philippine

The transnationalization of communication is a
well-known fact, especially in the Philippines where a
cursory glance at the foreign news pages reveals an
almost absolute dependence on the Big Four wire
agencies. Less obvious is the transnational hold on the
telecommunications system and other advanced
information technology which has been "a boon to
TNC    trade,   banking,   insurance,   manufacturing,
transportation, advertising and the mass media
industries which enjoy the scale of production
necessary to avail of the highly privileged cost of

Communications Monopolies

The Japanese conglomerate Marubeni is the principal supplier of
Domestic Satellite Philippines, Inc. (DOMSAT), which in turn is the
transmitting system for Radio Philippines Network (RPN), in itself a
lengthy chain of innumerable TV and radio stations. DOMSAT's other
major customer is the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company
(PLDT), which in 1977 initiated an $870 million project with the
Siemens Corporation, a West German conglomerate operating in 129
countries, "to install in Manila and major regional centers an all-digital
telephone switching and dialing system by 1986." Fraught with grave
political implications is the fact that

        Philcomsat, the Philippine representative to the International
        Telecommunications Satellite Consortium (Intelsat) has been in
        operation as a 11carrier5' carrier" since 1967 serving the US
        military, the international carriers and PLDT. Originally established
        for US military circuits from Hawaii to the Far East for the conduct
        of the Vietnam war, the current bulk of Philcornsat traffic goes
        through PLDT for international telephone service. The US military,
        however, remains its largest single end user.33

The transnational presence is strong not only in satellite communi-
cations but also in telecommunications. "Eastern Telecommunications
Philippines, Inc. (ETPI), an international carrier, and its domestic
interconnect, Oceanic Wireless Inc., are joint ventures of the British
international telecommunication giant Cable and Wireless." The other
two principal international carriers, which take charge of telegraph,
telex and data transmission are "the ITT subsidiary Globe Mackay
Cable and Radio (GMCR), and RCA's Philippine Global
Communications, Inc. (Philcom).34

The above mentioned facts have long-range implications on national
security and sovereignty because foreigners can have unlimited access
to the country's data and even secrets. Knowledge of a country's
resources and even potentials can be used against it in any negotiation.
The close connection between the TNCs and the US military apparatus
makes this power doubly ominous.

It must likewise be in identified with the present regime have been
instrumental in linking up with the TNCs in the satellite and
telecommunications fields, lending credence to the observation that
the exercise of martial law powers has facilitated "the concentration,
integration and hegemony of information structures that ultimately
serve the ideological, cultural, material and political interests of the
transnational corporations."35 It may be remembered that the owner-
ship of print and broadcast media substantially passed to the hands of
interests related to or aligned with the ruling family in late 1972.
Media therefore faithfully served these interests which more often
than not coincided with transnational concerns.

Role of Print Media

Many newspapers and magazines are purveyors of American colonial
influence. Foreign news and analysis of international developments
are largely provided by the transnational wire agencies. Naturally,
they contain a heavy bias in favor of the Western viewpoint. Articles
from socialist and Third World sources seldom see print. Cold War
columnists continue to corner precious space, alongside opinions and
feature articles reprinted from Western media.

Magazines and the features sections of newspapers tranquilize their
readers by focussing attention on purely personal issues, psycho-
logical problems, sex, crime and violence, astrology and the occult,
fashion and personality, entertainment and sports. Many of these make
use of syndicated materials from the West. Their treatment of such
subjects encourages frivolity, conspicuous consumption, escapism,
mysticism, hero-worship of sports and entertainment personalities, a
callous attitude toward violence etc. - everything except a sharper
insight into the problems of their society or even an analysis of the
subject matter as a reflection or an outgrowth of larger social and
economic questions.

The Economics of Domination

Given the powerful financial hold of foreign advertisers on local
media, the latter have no real choice. One source reports:

        Subjects not banned are those that perpetuate foreign domination of
        the marketplace. American ad agencies like J. Walter Thompson and
        McCann Erickson together          with local proteges spin out
        Western-style jingles that turn the transnational corporate product
        into a barrio household word. Of the ten largest sponsors of
        Benedicto's national RPN TV network, nine are such TNCs as Pepsi,
        Colgate and Nestle. And of the 123 members of the Philippine
        Association of National Advertisers who use all media, 75 per cent
        are TNCs or their affiliates.36

It is not surprising that transnational corporations are known to have
cornered as much as three-fourths of the air time for advertising.37 The
foreign, mainly American presence, is not limited to commercials.
Past studies have shown that foreign shows dominate the
programming of most television stations in the Third World. The US
supplies prime time TV programs - "game shows, police/adventure
thrillers, situation comedies and films." Other sources include Britain
and Japan.38

Why this state of affairs? Because," as is true in all developing
countries, it is more expensive to produce shows than to buy them
from foreign suppliers." In 1981, local production of one single
episode cost $800 - $2,400 while importing a whole foreign series
entailed only $100 - $2,600. The latter, if highly popular abroad,
would also be less risky to screen than an untried Filipino program.39

One source claims that US TV programs sold to other developed states
at $3,500 are being peddled to developing countries for less than $
100. The point for offering such a bargain is clearly cultural
penetration and influence, the lucrative export of the American
lifestyle and consumption patterns. A more ominous motive springs
from the close interconnection between the US government and
media: the expansion of US-sponsored TV hookups facilitates global
electronic surveillance through communications satellites.40

Hollywood, Inc.

Filipino films on the whole are reflective of a Westernized society
because their themes are too often copied from foreign successes and
because the majority of scripwriters and directors view Philippine life
through the lenses of their Western upbringing. Thus the popularity of
Filipino films at the present time is not a complete gain for they are
still agencies for Westernization.

Filipino movie producers themselves have long been complaining
against the massive influx of foreign films in the domestic market. As
early as 1978, the Philippine Motion Picture Producers Association
(PMPPA) in its position paper in support of a parliamentary bill
limiting foreign film importation stated:

        ... in the past 10 years, close to 4,500 foreign theatrical films have
        been shown commercially in this country against only 1,738
        domestic films; last year, 294 foreign films were shown in Metro
        Manila, against only 141 domestic pictures, since this glut of foreign
        films has been in operation for the past several years, it has
        supported conditions that place domestic 'producers at the mercy of
        the exhibitors; the bulk of our foreign importations comprise
        cheaply-bought films. An importer can bring a dozen films of this
        variety into the country for less than what it costs a domestic
        producer to make a single low-budget Filipino film (P500,000).

        ... Of the total number of foreign films passed, 148 were from the
        USA, 148 from Hongkong, and 105 from other countries.

Because of the long monopoly of American films, the principal
Western influence in the Philippines is American. Philippine movies
therefore ape American movies in their preoccupation with escapism,
sex and violence. Escapism, sex and violence are fed to the American
audience because these are commercially profitable, and they are
commercially profitable because the majority of the audience are no
longer in search of answers to social problems. They live for the
moment, they have resigned their obligations as social beings. Their
main preoccupation is material consumption. The values they have
embraced are intrinsically alien to human

existence for the material goods that obsess them have dehumanized
their lives. While their government dominates nations and peoples, the
American people have become enslaved by things, by the material
goods they produce. The loss of a sense of social purpose has
consigned great masses of the American population to an alienated
existence. Concerned American individuals and institutions are
themselves facing an uphill battle trying to awaken the American
public to a serious examination of their society and government.

4 Synthetic Culture

Man is born into a cultural system that is historically
evolved. He is permeated by symbols, traditions,
perceptions and value orientations that become
mediating forces between himself and society just as
society is the mediating agency between himself and
his material environment. In much of the Third World
today, this cultural heritage is in peril.

The transnationalization of communications has almost completely
shattered the cultural defenses of developing nations. The very
existence of indigenous cultures is threatened with massive
modifications as Western culture is presented, as the culture which
every modernizing state must emulate. Aspects of indigenous culture
are preserved in bastardized, "touristic form" to attract dollars while
the local population consumes popular Western cultural fare or local
films, TV, radio, and comics which ape the styles, techniques and
content of Western cultural products. The incursion of Western
informational and cultural commodities is constant and widespread.
They are also technologically superior, therefore admired and enjoyed.

In the course of the worldwide invasion of its cultural and informa-
tional infrastructures, contemporary capitalism has fabricated a
synthetic culture that has become the matrix of perceptions and
orientations of masses of people both in the industrial world and in the
newly independent states within the capitalist orbit. Indeed even the
socialist world has not been spared from the incursion of some aspects
of this synthetic culture.

Perhaps the most important feature of this synthetic culture is its
consumerist ideology. That is not surprising since the capitalist dream
society is one where everybody buys everything. While consumerism
is directly promoted by advertisements, a more effective because
subtle approach is the consistent presentation in media, particularly
TV, of the concept of the good life in an affluent society .What should
be regarded as luxuries in the Third World are perceived as
needs - Western food and fashion, modem appliances, a TV set, a car
etc. - thus creating pressures for importation or local production and in
the process distorting social priorities. Thus, we may see the latest car
models in a poor country where public transport is woefully

Reordering Reality

In industrialized states where the period of initial accumulation is long
past, the emphasis on such values as "prudence, restraint,

thrift and saving" has waned. In an economy characterized by high
productivity and ever threatened by the prospect of glut, the values
which media nurtures are those of impulse buying and asset
acquisition. Products are no longer bought for their sturdiness and
durability but for their style or for some claimed innovation. In an
economy that reaps handsome profits from planned obsolescence, the
idea that certain articles could be bearers of tradition and continuity
from one generation to the next would hardly be promoted. Instead,
the highest value is attached to the newest and the latest.

The Impact of TV

The most graphic and beguiling promoter of the values and lifestyle of
the "affluent society" is television. Television in the Third World is
more or less dominated by imported programs. According to a
UNESCO survey, imported programs in Guatemala occupy 84 per
cent of total broadcasting time, in Zambia 64%, Malaysia 71%,
Singapore 78%, Hongkong 40%

In the case of the Philippines a cursory review of the' television guide
would reveal that some 30 to 50 per cent of TV shows broadcast daily
are canned programs mainly from the United States. These include
detective serials, religious features, educational shows for children,
cartoons and other action/fantasy series, comedies, musical variety
programs, movie replays, sports and games. The influence of such
imports may be even stronger than the figures indicate inasmuch as
they are generally aired on prime time. These programs, coming
mostly from the United States and Japan and targeted at an audience of
urban middle-class families in the exporting states, generally "present
actors surrounded by durable commodities, material conveniences and
many aspects of the affluent society."42 Local programs take their cue
from such imports.

As one author put it, "the "have-not' nations stand practically
defenseless before a rampaging Western commercialism" which
dangles technology before their eyes." Impoverished as they are

many developing states are able to afford the new communications
complexes only by accepting commercial packages which 'tie' their
broadcasting systems to foreign programming and foreign financial
sponsorship." Quoting Sig Mickelson of Time-Life: "The various
underdeveloped countries are having to permit commercials because
they can't afford a television system otherwise."43 The effect is

        In this way their economic development paths are set, regardless of
        the intentions and designs of their planners, by the pull of
        market-directed consumerism. Expectations of new roads to national
        development which might foster motivations and behavior different
        from contemporary Western styles are being dashed in their

Standardization of Culture

The standardization of popular culture provides the dominant classes
with happy, exploited people whose minds are sedated with
entertainment featuring comic strips, mindless music, and soap operas
and comedies revolving around situations that distort reality and
ignore basic problems of society. At the other end of the spectrum are
the stories about sex and violence, the movie and TV mayhem, which
brutalize and desensitize and hardly provide useful social insights
because the emphasis is on individualistic solutions effected by cops,
detectives, supermen and wonder women who are the equivalents of
the cowboys of yester years fighting bad guys in defense of the law,
women, and private property.

Social relations are not dynamically presented. Instead, there is an
atomization of society, individuals without relation to the society they
live in. The hero fights the forces of evil as an individual. Social
relations become abstract. This is hardly surprising since the
fragmentation of oppressed classes - or better still, their unawareness
of their status - is a condition of the hegemony of the dominating class.

Colonizing Life Experiences

Reality is reordered and class conflicts and other political questions
are glossed over. The ruling class colonizes the life experiences of
other classes in order to give its own values and objectives the
appearance of universality. Thus, the culture disseminated is one that
ignores class conflicts, and is not part of the political struggle.
According to a study conducted in Venezuela, the "marginales or
bottom segment of the population lost their perception of class
differences. They think that there are, to be sure, rich and poor, but all
have access to the same consumer goods they hear about on the
transistor or see on the TV. 45

Today's so-called popular music, in its various manifestations, reflects
even more extremely both the emphasis on technology and the
mindlessness that afflicts the majority of film and TV productions.
Rock music with its ear-splitting volume, its empty repetitive lyrics,
generates nothing more than a purely physical excitement. It is
incapable of saying anything meaningful about human life. Instead, it
simply erects "walls of sound" behind which its consumers exist in an
unreal world where the violence done to the senses becomes an opiate
for the mind.

It is said that when the generals took over in Chile they blasted rock
music through the loudspeakers into the streets of Santiago -cultural
violence reflecting political and economic violence. Under Allende's
government, Chilean musicians had rediscovered indigenous music
and developed it to express the people's sentiments and aspirations.
Song became a great mobilizing agent. The generals arrested and
killed the artists to silence their music.

Means of Social Control

Cultural domination is facilitated by the fact that Third World
audiences have been reduced to passive recipients of inputs from
information monopolies. Cultural experience is limited to seeing,
hearing, and to a lesser extent reading pre-digested and packaged
products of the information industry that also 'controls entertainment.

People now think that being informed is simply knowing the latest
news: they are habituated to learning about the newest development or
event and forgetting what happened the day before. This is especially
true of a growing majority who rely on the TV news coverage rather
than on newspapers.

In the Philippines, for example, the daffy newspaper has become too
expensive for most families. A TV set has higher priority since it
provides both news and entertainment for a growing population of
non-readers. But TV offers each day's events simply as a passing
show: images flash on the screen, words assault the ear and fade away.
Who, what and where are its staples; why is hardly its forte.

At least newspapers offer an occasional intelligent analysis, but a
TV-habituated generation has no time or patience to be intellectually
provoked - indeed, does not even miss such an experience. This does
not imply that a non-analytical presentation is nonjudgmental. Value
judgments are incorporated in how news is presented, in what is
considered newsworthy, in what is ignored. Unknowingly, most
viewers will absorb these value judgments as part of the factual

The extent of technological progress especially in the realm of
communications has resulted, ironically enough, in the erosion of the
individual's opportunity to arrive independently at an awareness of his
environment. Instead, media, particularly TV, provide him with a
mediated or synthetic environment which takes the place of personal
sensory experience of the world he lives in. He is presented with a
reconstructed world and his perceptions of the real world are defined
and delimited by the images he sees on the TV screen from day to day,
from one newscast to the next.

The viewer becomes a mere receiver, not only of the facts of the event
but also of the value judgments implicit in the telling of the apparently
factual account. With information and opinion neatly packaged
together and bombarding the viewer every waking hour, he hardly has
the time to sort it all out and actively form opinions

of his own. He has become simply a passive consumer of information
and ideas in an environment recreated - one could even say
manufactured - for him by the communications industry.

Ideological Dependence

The analytical mind is exercised and honed through interaction.
Popular culture as dispensed by television and video tapes is 'generally
consumed in isolation and has produced a fragmented, escapist,
pliable, largely unthinking audience. The isolated individual who lives
within the recreated environment is ready for mental colonization.
New needs are implanted through the medium of advertising which is
an important means for homogenizing people. It trains them to regard
commodities as the be-all and end-all of life. Possessing or enjoying
them becomes life's sole meaning. The individual is given new images
of himself and pressured to live up to that image - one which places the
highest value on his consumption capacity thus making him an asset to
the corporate society in which he lives. While the upper and middle
classes constitute the more faithful market for Western cultural
commodities, the relatively inexpensive transistor is fast becoming an
indispensable fixture in the countryside and doles out, though not as
graphically and with a more local accent, more or less the same pap as
the television set.

This is not to say that television and radio are a complete cultural
wasteland but certainly, good, serious, solid programs are the
exception rather than the rule. As for material that addresses a problem
in a people-oriented manner, that is scarcer than a hen's teeth on
radio-TV. At least, the much maligned because admin-
istration-controlled newspapers, manage once in a while to print
research findings and exposes from a progressive, Third World
perspective. True, the occasional talk-show sometimes tackles
controversial subjects but time constraints and commercial inter-
ruptions usually preclude thorough discussion.

The communications industry is now the main agent in the manu-
facture of a synthetic culture which promotes the concept of

a universal and permanent economic system that is not to be
challenged in any fundamental way With the monopoly control of the
television networks, the information systems, the record industry,
video recorders, etc., culture itself has become a commodity. It has
also become a means of social control. While a variety of Cultural
products give the illusion of freedom of choice, practically all of them
aim to standardize men and women into acceptable types of citizens
and consumers who do not question the, system. 47

Homogenization and Sedation

Cultural homogenization cannot be divorced from the economic
techniques of contemporary capitalism. Cultural forms of domination
and exploitation act as masks for economic domination. While
previous dominant classes in slave and feudal societies considered
themselves as exclusive groups with strict social hierarchies, the ruling
class under capitalism pictures itself as an open group that
dynamically brings in all sectors, not only assimilating them to its
culture but giving them the illusion of free upward economic and
political mobility. The culture that emerges from mass
communications has a common standard. Identical material is
delivered to a homogenized audience. Corporate president and
delivery boy listen to the same newscast, laugh at the same jokes in the
latest sit-com episode.

It is an irony that with the "mass consumerization" of high technology
information and communications facilities, the means of widening the
people's outlook and their access to culture, and education, because
they are in private hands, are instead used for imprisoning men's
minds, diverting their attention from the real sources of poverty and
exploitation, and preventing them from ~Understanding the society in
which they live. The extension, of mass culture" has become a means
of democratizing domination. "Mass culture" has become
anti-cultural. The term "mass culture" is a negation of real culture
when culture along Western consumerist lines is refabricated to suit
the lowest common denominator. It sinks to such a dept that the senses
which are

supposed to be refined by culture are defiled by the inanities and
banality that pass for popular culture.

It is this vulgarization of culture that is transmitted to the peoples of
the Third World who are integrated into the system of international
capitalism. It is this type of Western culture tied up with consumption
that is being peddled as a universal culture. It is this culture that is
deforming the development of indigenous cultures of Third World
countries and has shaped the minds of Third World people to accept
the values, the approaches, the premises, of the developmentalists of
the West

Standardization of Consumption and Culture

The standardization of both consumption and culture begins with the
adoption of new products and styles (cultural or material) for the
consumer markets in the imperial economies. These are disseminated
to and readily appropriated by the upper and middle classes of
developing countries. However, since wider markets are needed for
more profits, the product is further promoted either as is or in a less
expensive version to be consumed by a larger public. This destroys its
value of exclusivity. The upper classes must then be provided with
completely new products or the old ones are restyled. Thus begins a
new cycle in the inexorable process of premature obsolescence and
frantic modernization.48

From the exclusivity of the centers of modernity, consumption items
are adopted by the elite in the Third World. Eventually, they seep
down (though in cheaper versions) to the mass, thus "democratizing"
these items. This leads the elite to pursue new items of exclusivity
which are dictated from the centers of modernity.49 Modernity is little
more than changing the forms of consumption within an unchanging
social structure. Thus the appearance of change masks the fact that
there is no real change.

This standardized culture with its international appeal is essentially
anti-nationalist. At a time when Third World peoples need all the
resources at their command to help them attain economic and

political independence, the cultural products they consume divert their
attention from such goals and promote cultural dependence. The TNCs
and the governments that represent them correctly regard nationalist
movements as threats to their economic expansion and political
control. Cultural penetration has proven to be an effective tool to
impede such movements or at least to tame them.

Thought Transference

Another useful effect of 'cultural homogenization is the transmission
to Third World leaders and peoples of a world view supportive of TNC
objectives. Various foundations, funding agencies and universities are
involved in providing Third World scholars with the opportunity to be
acquainted with Western thought. This would not be a bad thing since
scholars the world over do need to keep abreast of developments in
their respective fields. Unfortunately, too many of these programs are
ultimately, if not expressly, intended to deepen the commitment of
Third World intellectuals to developmental programs emanating from
the West. This technique is a repetition on a grander scale of the
colonial cooptation of local elites. Captive intellectuals become
additional transmission belts of transnational culture.

There is now a plethora of writing on the Third World by Western
social scientists, especially those of the establishment. Because they
have readier access to the latest information and data than Third World
scholars themselves, and because they subscribe to the policies of their
own governments or their funding agencies or their universities, their
works are promoted as authoritative reference points of Third'
World- scholars. Peoples of the Third World are thus given foreign
images of themselves.

Ideological dependence among the political leadership facilitates
acceptance, of recommendations on types of state structures and
economic development programs whether done directly by imperial
states or through multilateral agencies. Many Third World
governments have readily swallowed the myth of lack of

local capital and the consequent need to attract foreign investments.
Having accepted the concept of mutual interdependence, as
enunciated by industrial states, they are now accommodating TNC
requirements by providing cheap labor' and producing what the world
market demands, even at the expense of their own people's needs.
Ideological dependence insures that external forces are viewed as
friends while internal counter-forces are considered subversive.

5 Philippine
  Cultural Scene

The early and systematic inculcation of information,
concepts, ideas, values and world view, projected by
the informational and cultural institutions of the US
and her major allies has been one of the main concerns
of the World Bank's 'educational thrust since the 1960s.
As of June 1978, the World Bank had assisted some
10,000 educational and training institutions in 80 Third
World countries around the world.50

The Philippine Experience

In this regard, the Philippine experience may be instructive to other
Third World peoples inasmuch as it shows clearly the role of the
cultural component in both colonial and neocolonial control. At the
turn of the century, when G6n. Arthur MacArthur recommended a
large appropriation for school purposes "as an adjunct to military
operations calculated to pacify the people," he began a massive
transplantation of American education which eventually transformed
most Filipinos into naively willing victims of American

One major aspect of the colonial education of the Filipino was the
distortion of the history of the early period of American occupation..
Accounts of the fierce people's resistance and of the atrocities
perpetrated by the Americans in quelling this resistance were
suppressed. Instead, the leaders of this resistance were branded as
bandits while the early collaborators from the ilustrado elite were
presented to the people as their true leaders. Of course, the Americans
were portrayed in the schools as altruistic benefactors whom the
Filipinos had welcomed with open arms. Thus, succeeding generations
forgot their people's record of resistance, their history of struggle.

The use of English as a medium of instruction made possible the
introduction of an American public school curriculum. With American
textbooks, young Filipinos began learning not only a new language but
a new culture. Education became miseducation because it began to
de-Filipinize the youth, taught them to regard American culture as
superior to any other, and American society as the model par
excellence for Philippine society. These textbooks gave them a good
dose of American history while neglecting their own. Such aspects of
Philippine life and history as found their way into later school material
naturally had to conform to the American viewpoint since the whole
educational system was highly centralized.

Today, World Bank funding for educational programs is aimed not

only at producing the manpower requirements of TNCs but also at
fulfilling the long-term objective of developing in the youth values and
outlooks supportive of the neocolonial status quo. World Bank funded
textbooks for the primary and secondary levels present
colonization - particularly by the United States -as a salutary learning
process for the colonized. These textbooks constantly tout the
indispensability of foreign investments and foreign loans to
development, the need to export in order to earn dollars, the
advantages of free trade with advanced countries, the importance to
developing countries of the friendly assistance of the advanced states
in extending loans, transferring technology and buying their products,
and finally, they stress the duty of every citizen to support the
government's development program, which is in fact the program
designed by the WB-1MF for the fuller integration of the Philippine
economy into the global capitalist system.53

Native "Transmission Belts"

Aside from institutionalizing miseducation, colonialism preserved the
backward agricultural economy. Instead of producing a class of
proletarians, an active sector that could carry out the more advanced
struggle for independence and against economic exploitation,
colonialism produced a big sector of petty bourgeoisie. Shopkeepers,
salesmen, professionals, government employees, etc. formed the mass
product of colonial relations and education. This sector became avid
consumers of American goods. Westernized in orientation, they
became the transmission belts of an alien culture.

Such Westernized groups were deliberately created by the colonial
powers in all colonized countries to "turn their victims into their
defenders." In the colorful words of one author:

        They were fabricated initially to act as cogs in the administrative
        machines of Empire, then as the summer-glory of imperialism
        waned, they were fabricated with increasing subtlety and
        sophistication, in either the metropolitan country or in one of the
        new universities which sprang up like mushrooms in the aid-warmed
        autumn of imperialism,

        that they might act as media through whom the cultural, political and
        economic influences of the metropolitan country might be

Today, if a foreigner were to evaluate the cultural state of the
Philippines he would probably be impressed with the achievements of
Filipino artists, noting how they have kept abreast of cultural trends
abroad. Unfortunately, too many of these achievements belong to a
coterie that looks up to foreign models. As a matter of fact, the
audience at cultural presentations is often dominated by the
cosmopolitan set which patronizes and graces these events and whose
approval is prized as a sign of success.

Of late, there have been a number of probably well-intentioned
attempts by cultural leaders to remedy what they deplore as the
cultural poverty of the masses by making available to them through
provincial tours and lower prices the cultural fare that the middle and
upper classes enjoy. Though there is no intention to suggest that the
people do not need exposure to the real cultural achievements of
Western peoples - and of all peoples in fact - too often these efforts
merely result in further indiscriminate Westernization. A more
meaningful cultural development is one that seeks its roots in the
people's history and the people's lives. Fortunately, this development
is now being pushed by a few cultural workers and artists who see the
emptiness of aping foreign models, but the Westernizing current is still

Strangers to the People

The "new cultured Filipinos," it seems, are a breed apart from the mass
of Filipinos. Their thought-processes are comprehensible only to
themselves and their foreign models; they do not understand their
people and the people in turn regard their artistic and literary creations
as objects of curiosity which neither affect their lives nor elevate their
spirits. They do not speak the same language and they do not have the
same experiences.

These elements of the intelligentsia, however, do not constitute a
homogeneous group. Some of them are in a state of ferment

precisely because they realize that they are a class without
roots -adopted children of a foreign culture and foreigners to their own
people. They are genuinely concerned about the drift of present
society though they are hindered by the framework within which they
labor. Others, mistakenly believing that sophistication in the Western
sense and familiarity with Western ways are the true measures of
cultural progress, have completely embraced cosmopolitan culture.
Their one ambition, is someday to be at par with their foreign

Though many in this group may call themselves Filipinos and may, in
a queer manifestation of nationalism, even boast of the prestige that
they are earning for their country, they will never really belong to the
Filipino people. They may now enjoy the adulation of lovers of the
esoteric but soon they will be forgotten, for their work cannot become
a part of the people's culture. In the end, it is the people and their
culture that will endure.

National culture will be developed by and will emerge from the real
people; its essential features will certainly not be shaped by those who
regard themselves as the purveyors of thought, art and taste to a mass
they do not really consider to be capable of appreciating their

Seepage from Above

Many so-called cultural leaders proceed from the assumption that the
people can experience growth only by seepage from above and that,
moreover, real culture, is premised on certain levels of income and
leisure. These so-called cultural leaders who claim that they are
contributing to national development (actually some have selfish, even
pecuniary motivations) are in reality divorcing themselves from the
people and are in effect providing weapons for the obliteration of any
sort of national culture. What they are accomplishing is providing
Westerners with a comfortable haven in these shores, making tourists
feel they are at home, pampering those intellectuals who find
recognition in the limited world of foreign and local cosmopolites, and
adding to the confusion of

other sectors who really do not belong to these circles.

It seems to be the belief of these cultural leaders that the people can be
awakened culturally only by massive doses of foreign culture and
frequent visits by foreign performers. Even those attempts to present
native art or cultural fare based on native themes are sadly inadequate
precisely because they -proceed from a Western bias. More often than
not they are only a form of condescension and a concession on the part
of the elite who have their own heroes and idols from Western culture.

6 Responses

However massive informational dissemination may be,
however pervasive the cultural penetration, the
dominant ideology is not the only ideology that exists.
Inevitably, there develops an ideology of the
dominated people which in inchoate or more developed
form exhibits its resistance to the dominant culture and
the social forces that sustain it and are sustained by it.

Synthetic Culture vs. People's Culture

The synthetic "mass culture" which is so much the product of the
global communications system and of the operations of transnational
corporations must be contradistinguished from people's culture. The
latter is developed by the people themselves in accordance with their
daily needs and long-term aspirations. In the Third World, a people's
culture is necessarily linked to the struggle against oppression and
foreign control, invigorates this struggle and is invigorated by it.
Therefore, any action toward the attainment of economic and political
independence also nourishes the growth of a people's culture and vice

One-way Information Flow

One important cultural objective is that of establishing sovereignty in
the acquisition of information by setting up a national system to gather
information and disseminate it. This will reduce the present imbalance
in information exchange due to the monopoly of communication
services by industrial countries. To the extent that a Third World
country's government is responsive to its own people, its national
information system will disseminate more relevant world information.
Such a system will also change the present situation wherein Third
World nationals receive information about themselves largely from
foreign sources. Thus, even their image of themselves is the product of
foreign eyes and minds.

Third World Reactions

The arrogant way the transnationals wield their awesome power over
global communication has generated vehement objections from the
developing countries collectively victimized by the generally negative
image presented of them. Unfortunately, this very domination, the
foreign control over many Third World economies, their disparate
political structures and the interests of their respective ruling groups
have made it difficult for Third World countries to act collectively in
establishing a New International Information and Communication

Like the call for a New International Economic Order sounded by
Third World countries represented by their respective ruling groups
and therefore inconsistently advanced, the move for a New
International Information and Communication Order, for the past
eight years, has remained "a hope, a long-term objective." The NIICO
is "no more than an aspiration, not a programme with set goals and
rigid deadlines." 55 Yet it is an aspiration worth pursuing, however
modestly and despite the overwhelming obstacles, because its main
aim is the decolonization of mass media by regulating the activities of
the information multinationals, by developing communications
structures that safeguard national sovereignty and cultural identity,
and by assuring access to and participation in the international flow of
information under conditions of equality, justice and mutual benefit.

To the doctrine of "free flow" of information which "has often been
used as an economic and/or ideological tool by the communications
rich to the detriment of those not so well endowed," 56 the Third World
countries through the UNESCO argue for a "free, reciprocal balanced
flow of accurate, complete and objective information, and for the
rectification of the imbalance in the quantitative and qualitative flow
of information between the developing and the industrialized
countries." 57

Two-Fold Problem

The problem in the Philippines is two-fold. On the one hand, we have
internally a vertical flow of information from above with almost no
reverse flow from below, and on the other, the very vehicles of
national information owned and operated by the dominant groups have
become channels of international control because of tie-ups with
foreign monopolies.

The NIICO like the NIEO is officially supported by the Philippine
government but more in the realm of rhetoric, and only as a reaction to
negative publicity on the regime in the Western press. Nevertheless,
the fact that it is intermittently mentioned as a desirable end may open
up possibilities for popular forces to press

their demands, not only for a free press but also for an independent

Committed communicators may work within the interstices of the
media system. There is no consistent conspiracy which ties all the
publishers at any given moment to one tendency or viewpoint.
Publishers, too, have their own sectoral contradictions which could
make it possible for some members of media to expose certain truths
against certain sections of the ruling class, and even against
imperialism itself. We need an expanding core of analysts who can
correct impressions resulting from the barrage of information directed
at a passive audience. Journalists and groups speaking for the
"inarticulate mass" must demand newspaper space and air time for
their viewpoints in the context of the struggle for a free press. If used
in a responsible manner, such a foothold could become permanent.

Alternative Possibilities

Whether or not some little space and time in the establishment media
is granted, committed organizations must explore alternative
possibilities opened by new technologies. Small radio stations can be
operated, presupposing a struggle against monopoly of frequencies.
Betamax tapes may be utilized to reach a wider audience. Small,
efficient word processors may be employed to put out community
papers. In short, efforts must be exerted to pluralize sources. Attempts
should likewise be made to widen exchanges with other Third World
countries. Whatever may be the chosen venue, it should be organized
and patiently sustained on a continuing basis. Too many projects are
either too grandiose to be viable or suffer from the ningas cogon
mentality and expire after Vol. 1, No. 1. Above all, such efforts should
carefully adjust to the level of their target audience.

These are small beginnings to counter the consequences of monopoly
in media. Freedom of the press, traditionally the preserve of a narrow
elite, should be extended to the masses who theoretically enjoy this
basic right. This is the real meaning of the democratization

of communications, -which is one of the goals of NIICO. In the words
of a report on the subject submitted to UNESCO, "The media should
contribute to promoting the just cause of peoples struggling for
freedom and independence and their right to live in peace and equality
without foreign interference. This is especially important for all
oppressed peoples who, while struggling against colonialism,
religious and racial discrimination, are deprived of opportunity to
make their voices heard within their own countries."58

Communications and Development

The struggle against monopoly in communications must start at home.
The restoration of freedom of expression is the beginning of the
struggle against international monopolies. Communication must be
restored to its original two-way nature. This will be an arduous, uphill,
fight considering present constraints but some modest gains can still
be achieved even within the system. The residual consciousness of
people which reacts against oppression can become the focal point in
the resistance against an unjust communications policy which is the
outgrowth of an unjust socio-economic system. We must not separate
communications policies from the development programs adopted by
this country. They are part and parcel of a general plan conceived by
external forces which the communications system is trying to sell to its

In the Philippine context, in the context in fact of all societies wracked
by class antagonisms, large masses of people are denied, partially or
wholly, of specific rights "such as the right to be' informed, the right to
inform, the right to privacy, the right to participate in public
communication - all elements of a new concept, the right to
communicate." 59 They are disadvantaged by many factors: illiteracy,
poverty, inaccessibility or inadequacy of the technological means and
knowhow, etc. During the moments when their lives are touched by
media, they are inundated by alien or distorted imagery or information
which reinforce their ignorance and apathy. The communications
revolution has arrived

even in the Philippines, but the magic wrought by computers,
telephones, telex machines, video recorders, etc. is monopolized by a
narrow urban elite.

The Philippine experience shows very clearly that "the national
oligarchy of a developing country has very close interests with those
who sell the products of the industrialized countries, whereas the
material interests of the poor masses are almost always in opposition
to those of the ruling class..."60

The Options at Hand

In the Philippines, the present power structure encourages integration
with the world power structures. Though not openly stated, Philippine
communications policy is in support of the developmental programs of
TNCs and advanced industrial countries. An alternative program must
therefore strive for a delinking, or a. selective linkage which will be
based on the interests of the people. It must develop a communications
policy that will transform the passive receivers into active participants.
As a market for technologies and programs, we have the option of not
buying, or buying only that which is in our interest. Within the existing
constraints, we can strive for a more horizontal access and
participation in the communication process. There are crevices within
the national structures that can be exploited. There are institutions and
organizations that can make information flow from the bottom up. The
movement for an alternative communications order must study
structures of ownership and distribution in order to mitigate the
vertical lines of communications flow.

Given their tie-ups and orientation, the local powers-that-be who also
control the media have no choice but to bow to the pressures
emanating from transnational advertisers and technology suppliers,
even if they do complain sometimes and pay lip service to the NIICO.
In the main, there is a confluence of interests as quasimartial-law
powers are exercised to contain dissent through media regulation or
manipulation for the benefit not only of the present power holders but
also of the foreign corporations lording it over

the economy. These interests, however, are not all the time identical,
especially at this stage when the US is trying all means, including the
adroit and sometimes clandestine use of both global media and some
segments of the local press, to pressure the Marcos regime and pave
the way for a more acceptable political order.

On the other hand, we must not fall into the error of thinking that
reforms within media will solve the problems of freedom of
expression. We must view communications as part and parcel of
international and national structures. We cannot entertain the illusion
that we can have a free media simply by a change of leadership
without changing structures that cause oppression and encourage a
popular consciousness that perpetuates an unjust system. Even if we
change the ownership of present media, new interests intertwined with
international monopolies would still constitute a restraining factor on
democratic forces.

Some Guidelines

The situation is complex. While it is correct to demand removal of the
obstacles created by the present regime to the exercise of the people's
right to communicate, the main enemy must also remain visible and be
dealt with accordingly. To this end, some general guidelines derived
from the Macbride Report, the output of the 16-member International
Commission for the Study of Communication Problems submitted to
the UNESCO in 1980, may be suggested:

1) Formulation and development of comprehensive national
communication policies, which should "evolve from broad con-
sultations with all sectors concerned" and "the setting up of adequate
mechanisms for wide participation of organized social groups in their
definition and implementation."

2) Removal of obstacles and restrictions "which derive from the
concentration of media ownership, public or private, from commercial
influences on the press and broadcasting, or from private

or government advertising."

3) "Effective legal measures ... designed to: (a) limit the process of
concentration and monopolization; (b) circumscribe the action of
transnationals by requiring them to comply with specific criteria and
conditions defined by national legislation and development policies;
(c) reverse trends to reduce the number of decision makers at a time
when the media's public is growing larger and the impact of
communication is increasing; (d) reduce the influence of advertising
upon editorial policy and broadcast programming; (e) seek and
improve models which would ensure greater independence and
autonomy of the media concerning their management and editorial
policy, whether those media are under private, public or government

4) Strengthening cultural identity and creativity through the
establishment of national cultural policies which "ensure that creative
artists and various grassroots groups can make their voice heard
through the media;" "introduction of guidelines with respect to
advertising content and the values and attitudes it fosters, in
accordance with national standards and practices;" putting more
emphasis on "non-commercial forms of mass communications"
integrated with the traditions and cultural goals of the country;

5) Development of essential elements of communications systems;
"print media, broadcasting and telecommunications long with the
related training and production facilities." These should include
"strong national news agencies vital for improving country's national
and international reporting;" comprehensive radio networks reaching
the remotest areas; basic postal telecommunications services through
"small rural electronic changes;" a community press in small towns
and the country; "utilization of local radio, low-cost small format
television, and video systems and other appropriate technologies (to)
facilitate production- of programmes relevant to community
development efforts, stimulate participation and provide opportunity
for diversified cultural expression “.

6) Access to technical information and advanced communications
technology with the end in view of developing national capabilities in
this area to answer national needs; establishment of national and
international measures, "among them reform of existing patent laws
and conventions, appropriate legislation and international
agreements," to counteract concentration and monopolization by a few
industrialized states and transnational corporations'; strengthening
collective self-reliance and cooperation .among developing countries
in this crucial field;

7) Democratizing media management "by associating the following
categories: (a) journalists and professional communicators; (b)
creative artists; (c) technicians; (d) media owners and managers; (e)
representatives of the public. Such democratization of the media needs
the full support and understanding of all those working in them, and
this process should lead to their having a more active role in editorial
policy and management."61

Communications and Liberation

The substance and spirit of the above suggestions are obviously
antithetical to prevailing norms described by one media expert as
"highly centralized," "government-oriented, (and) often associated
with the domination of a technocratic elite that focuses on 'social'
efficiency and 'public' rationality at the cost of democratic
participation. End users are not consulted; technology precedes policy
as when "broadcast stations are set up even before programme
philosophy and strategies are developed. Worst of all,"dependence of
communication technology on multinationals who supply technology
as well as replacement 64 parts and maintenance has threatened the
growth of self-reliance.

Still, democratic and anti-imperialist forces must for the moment
operate within the given constraints while seeking to transcend them
through consistent and sustained struggle. There must be a determined
effort to widen whatever breathing space is left, using the very means
the enemy itself wields as well as creatively developing alternative
vehicles of communication.

As the Macbride Report succinctly puts it. "communication can be an
instrument of power, a revolutionary weapon, a commercial product,
or a means of education; it can serve the ends of either liberation or of
oppression, of either the growth of the individual personality or of
drilling human beings into uniformity."65

7 The

Democratic, anti-imperialist movements operating
despite the combined repression of local regimes and
external   forces   are   daily   developing   a   new
counter-culture in the course of their sustained efforts
for national independence. Resistance has produced
literature and drama, music and art for and by the
people because the growth of a real national culture is
tied up with the struggle for liberation from local
oppression and imperialism. The struggle against
imperialism also requires confrontation with cultural

What is the concept of a national culture? It is not the glory of the past
where there was little or none. It is not only folklore, it is not only a
revival of tradition. Above all it is the summation of the needs of the
people, the description of their past and present condition, an
expression of their values, thoughts and emotions, the depiction of
their historic struggles to liberate themselves. True national culture is
inextricably linked to the people's needs, ideas, emotions and
practices. National literature, art, music and all -other forms of culture
must therefore find their source and inspiration in the people's
activities and dedicate their achievements to the people.

It is true that the poverty of the masses is a major cause of their poverty
of culture. But this poverty itself breeds its own dynamic as it
transforms the feeling of deprivation into a desire to negate the
condition itself. This process in turn develops its own forms of
expression and action which if crystallized and systematized become
the matrix of a. people's culture. A real people's culture will constitute
the negation of a culture that is merely an appendage of or an
emanation from a foreign culture which has obliterated the Filipinos'
own culture because it is the expression of their own obliteration as a

Characteristics of People's Culture

The culture of dissent and resistance is not neutral and does not
pretend to be so. The culture of the oppressed is partisan. It is the
dominant culture of the ruling classes that falsely claims both
neutrality and universality. The cultural worker therefore cannot be
neutral; he must make a choice. If he chooses the side of the people he
will be more productive the greater his understanding of and
participation in people's movements and actions.

People's culture will take many forms depending on each nation's
history and cultural traditions, the characteristics of the people's
struggle for liberation, and the period when this takes place. Despite its
infinite possibilities, we may essay a list of qualities it would have and
will probably have wherever it develops as an

integral part of the movement for political and economic indepen-
dence. It will be nationalist without being xenophobic'. It will express
nationalist sentiments precisely because the movement is committed
to the defense of the country's patrimony from foreign exploitation. It
will be democratic because it speaks with the voice of the majority, the
working people; it expresses their needs and aspirations and is the fruit
of their wisdom and experience while it also helps them to understand
themselves. Because of its closeness to the people, this culture will
always be deeply human.

An authentic people's culture must be scientific in order to counteract
popular mysticism, superstition and archaic traditions and beliefs that
can only delay the people's victory. On the other hand, a culture
heavily oriented towards science and technology but with a less than
firm commitment to nationalism may eventually yield to foreign
domination. Finally, a culture that caters to popular sentiments without
a strong scientific and nationalist foundation may simply be a revival
of cultural traditions rather than a new creation under new historical
circumstances. These are pitfalls to be avoided.

In the sense that the needs and aspirations of the working people
follow a similar pattern in most countries, the culture that emerges
from their struggle for national sovereignty and freedom from
oppression, while possessing specific and diverse characteristics in
each country, in its general contours transcends national boundaries
and acquires a universal character. Such a culture will eventually
negate the global synthetic culture as more and more Third World
peoples achieve their liberation.

The Need for Re-education

The starting point must be an awareness of a separate identity, a
recognition that Filipino interests are not identical with those of the
United States, that they are in fact opposed to hers. To this day, many
of the people, though they may readily see the exploitation of Filipinos
by Filipinos, still cling to the myths about a benevolent America that
colonial education inculcated in them.

Once false consciousness about the United States is dismantled,
understanding of the role of other states will quickly follow.
Re-education is therefore an urgent task and this involves no less than
a drastic mental overhaul, the exploding of myths, the correction of
misconceptions, the exposure of facts hitherto concealed in Philippine
history and in present reality.

The most effective way of exposing the myths about the United States
is through a re-study of history. This re-study will reveal that the
original basis of Philippine "special relations" with the United States
was a deception, a myth that has imprisoned generations of Filipinos.
Learning and teaching a decolonized history is therefore an essential
part of re-education.

The content of education should be detached from its colonial
moorings and imbued with a Filipino outlook. The national language
should be given more solid emphasis as a medium of instruction.
Books and other instructional materials should be those written by

Of course, the educational system as presently constituted can hardly
be expected to institute basic changes although here and there, some
academic people may be making a dent. The hope of re-education
therefore lies in workers organizations, peasant groups, youth

Nationalism and Internationalism

The advanced nations of the world naturally do not view with favor the
growth of nationalism in a Third World country although, shrewdly,
they encourage its more neutral or harmless manifestations in the
cultural field as an escape valve for the discontent of dominated
peoples. What the powerful capitalist states are encouraging is the
concept of internationalism, the idea that they and the Third World
nations are economically, interdependent in a mutually beneficial way
and must therefore stand together politically. Just as the generations of
Filipinos under American rule where brainwashed into believing that
their status as an

agricultural, raw-material exporting country was the only proper one
for them, the Filipinos of today are beguiled into believing that the
only path to progress open for them is that of modernization through a
dependent industrialization. Western cultural institutions and mass
media generally reinforce all these concepts as they continue
westernizing the cultures of the Third World.

Subtly, the idea of nationalism is downgraded as no longer relevant, or
it is associated with its past jingoistic manifestations in other countries
such as Germany and Japan.

There are Filipinos who think they must make a choice between
nationalism and internationalism or that one should be subordinated to
the other. It is necessary to know the correct interconnection of the
two. Internationalism is a feeling of kinship with the peoples of the
world, not with their rulers or their governments. Nationalism is the
Filipinos' consciousness of their interests. To be a good nationalist one
must share the goals of other peoples for a better life, in effect making
one a real internationalist. But before one can be a good
internationalist, one must be a nationalist first, taking into
consideration the welfare of one's own people before being able to
help others - but ever conscious of the fact that the larger goals of a
whole people preclude the exploitation of others. In other words, the
internationalist content of nationalism lies in the egalitarian aspect of
world brotherhood, and the nationalist content of internationalism lies
in the concept of national sovereignty within the present system of
world states and in its defense against imperialist onslaughts.

Our own culture forged in the struggle for liberation will be our
distinct contribution to a universal' culture embracing all the world's
free peoples.

1   Ian Lind. "A Critical Look at Castle and Cooke," Multinational
    Monitor, July 1981, Dorothy Friesen and Gene Stoltzfus, "Castle
    and Cooke in Mindanao," January 1978, Third World Studies
    Program, University of the Philippines.
2. Ernest Feder, Perverse Development, Quezon City, Foundation
   for Nationalist Studies, 1983; Vivencio Jose, (ed.) Mortgaging the
   Future, Quezon City, Foundation for Nationalist Studies, 1982, p.
3. R. Barnet and R. Mueller, Global Reach, New York, Simon and
   Schuster, 1974,p.184.
4. John Tanner, "Milk Marketing Continues," New Statesman, 23
    November 1984.
5. Interview with rural women from Bulacan, Pampanga, Isabela and
   Nueva Ecija, by Rosalinda Pineda-Ofreneo, (March 22, 1985) in
   connection with the preparation of an alternative country report on
   the impact of the UN Decade for Women.
6. Jon' Madeley, "Third World; tobacco's last frontier," Bulletin
    Today, January 12, 1984; Albert Huebner, "Making the Third
    World Marlboro Country," The Nation, June 16, 1979; "Cigaret
    smoking, lung cancer up in TW," Times journal, August 23,1982.
7. Renato Constantino, "Rescheduling the Crisis," address before the
   Rizal Medical Society, Feb. 10, 1985.

8, John K. Galbraith, The New Industrial State, Hammondsworth, UK,
     1975, p. 55 et. seq.
9. Wilson P. Dizzard, "The Coming Information Age." Economic
   Impact, No. 44, 1984-1984.
10. Ibid.
11. Cees J. Hamelink, "New Technologies and the Third World - A
    'Distribution of Social Benefits'?" New Communication
    Techonologies and Their Impact on Western Industrialized
    Countries, Bonn, FRG, FriedrichEbert-Stiftung, 1984, p. 47.
12. Thilo Pohlert, "Computers in Telecommunication Services," in
    Ibid., p.68.
13. Amilcar Cabral, "The Role of Culture in the Liberation Struggle,"
    in Armand Mattelart and Seth Siegelaub, eds., Communication
    and Class Struggle, New York, International General, France,
    IMMRC, 1973, p.210.
14. Maolshoachlainn 0. Caollai, "Broadcasting and the Growth of a
    Culture," in Mattelart and Siegelaub, op. cit.

15. Seth Siegelaub, "A Communication on Communication," in
    Mattelart and Siegelaub, op. cit., p. 11; a well rounded discussion
    of the problem can be found in Cees Hamelink, The Corporate
    Village, IDOC International, Rome, 1977.
16. Ibid.
17. Kaarle Nordenstreng and Tapio Varis, "The Nonhomogeneity of
    the National State and the International Flow of Communication,"
    in George Gebner, et al., eds., Communications, Technology and
    Social Policy, New York, John Wiley and Sons,-, 1973, pp.
18. Armand Mattelart, "Introduction: For a Class Analysis of
    Communication," in Mattelart and Siegelaub, op. cit., 65-66,
19. "Lords of the Air," The Nation, March 30, 1985.

20. Ibid.
21. The Film Countil, "A Brief History of the American Film
    Industry," in Mattelart and Sigelaub, op. cit,, pp. 255-257.
22. Thomas H, Guback, "Film as International Business," in Mattelart
    and Siegelaub, op. cit., p. 364.
23, Ibid,. pp. 359-366.
24. R. Bunce, Television in the Corporate Interests, Praeger, New
    York, 1976, p. 84, also cited by Jeremy Turnstall, The Media Are
    American, Great Britain, Constable and Co., 1977.
25. Enrique Gonzales Manet, "NIIO-. Issues and Trends, 1983,"
    Democratic journalists, 7/8/83.
26. Cees Hamelink, The Corporate Village. Op. cit., p. 10.
27. Renato       Constantino,     "The       Transnationalization     of
    Communication: Implications on Culture and Development,"
    lecture before the Institute of International Studies, University of
    the Philippines, Nov. 23, 1984; fuller discussion on the national
    security state may be found in Armand Mattelart, "Notes on the
    Ideology of the Military State," in Mattelart and Siegelaub, op.
    cit., pp. 406-427.
28. Sang-Chul Lee, "Some Aspects of the New World Information
    Order,” Media Asia, Vol. 8, No. 2, 198 1, pp. 91-92.
29. Dieter Bielenstein, ed., Toward a New World Information Order:
    Consequences for Development Policy, Brunswick, FRG,
    Institutefor International Relations, 1980, pp. 21-22.
30. Herbert 1. Schiller, "Genesis of the Free Flow of Information
    Principles," in Mattelart and Siegelaub, op. cit., p. 345.
31. Vicente Maliwanag, "The Flow of World News: An Appraisal,"
    Media Asia, Vol. 10, No. 1, 1983, p. 30.
32. Gerald     Sussman,     "Telecommunications      Technology:
    Transnationalizing the New Philippine information Order," in
    Media, Culture and Society, London, Academic Press, Inc. 1982,
    p. 388.

33.Ibid., p. 382.
35. Ibid., p. 388.
36.Ibid., p. 337.
37. "State of TV Reflects Economy," Business Day, Oct. 23, 1984;
    see also, "The new economics of the air time for advertising,"
    Business Outlook, December, 1976.
38. Orly S. Mercado and Elizabeth B. Buck, "Media Imperialism in
    Philippine Television," Media Asia, 1981, p. 97.
40. Jeremy Turnstall, The Media Are American, Great Britain,
    Constable and Co., Ltd., 1977, pp. 38-39.
41. Hidetoshi Kato, "Global Instantaneousness and Instant Globalism
    The Significance of Popular Culture in Developing Countries," in
    Wilbur Schramm and Daniel Lerner, eds., Communication and
    Change the L4st Ten Years and the Next, 1976, University Press of
    Hawaii~ p. 257.

42. Ibid.
43. Herbert Schiller, "Channels of dependence: Export of homo
    consumens" in Cees Harnelink, The Corporate Village, op. cit., p.
44. Ibid., pp. 145-146.
45. "Barnet and Mueller, op. cit., p. 185.
46. Leon Rosselson, "Pop Music: Mobiliser or Opiate?" in Carl
    Gardner, ed., Media, Politics and Culture, London, MacMillan
    Press, 1979, pp. 40-50.
47. Michele Mattelart, "Notes on 'Modernity': A Way of Reading
    Women's Magazines," in Mattelart and Siegelaub, op. cit., pp.
48. ibid.

49. Ibid.
50. World Development Report 1980, Washington, D.C.; the World
    Bank, August 1980, cited in Vivencio R. Jose, ed., Mortgaging the
    Future, Quezon City, Foundation for Nationalist Studies, 1982, p.
51. Renato Constantino, "The Miseducation of the Filipino," and
    Letizia R. Constantino, "World Bank Textbooks - Scenario for
    Deception," Quezon City, Foundation for Nationalist Studies,
52. Ibid.
53. Ibid.
54. Keith Buchinan, Reflections on Education in the Third world,
    Notting-ham, Spokesman Books, 1975, p. 37.
55. Sean MacBride, Many Voices, One World, Paris, Unesco, 1980.
56. Ibid.
57. Isaac A. Sepetu, "Toward a New International Information Order
    Consequences for its Realization in the Third World's View," in
    Dieter Beilenstein, op. cit., p. 59.
58. MacBride, op. cit., p. 2
59. Ibid.
60. Nordenstreng and Varis, in Gebner, -op. cit., p. 411.
61. MacBride, op. cit., p. 267.
62. Florangel Rosario-Braid, "Patterns of Information Technology
    Transfer in the Philippines," Media Asia, Vol. 10, No. 3, 1983, p.
63. Ibid., pp. 170-171.
64. Ibid., p. 175.
65. MacBride, op. cit., p. 253.

66. Renato Constantino, "Culture and National Identity," in Dissent
    and Counter-Consciousness, Queton City, Malaya Books, 1970;
    see also, Renato Constantino, "Mass Culture" and Development,
    Keynote address, conference on Culture and Development,
    Centrum Kontakt der Kontinenten, Soesterberg, Holland, May 16,
    1985. .
67. Truong Cbinh, Selected Writings, Hanoi, Foreign Languages
    Publishing House, 1977, pp. 264-271.


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